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Named after the goddess of wisdom, the birthplace of democracy blends an ancient civilisation with a progressive city. Soak up the atmosphere and join the Greeks with their zest for lift in this fascinating capital.

Insider Tip

Syntagma Square is close to the historical Plaka Quarter, and Kolanaki, north east of the city, is known for its pavement cafes and outstanding views over the city.

The best and most interesting places to dine are the outdoor tavernas in the Plaka. Try some Athenian specialities, including souvlaki (kebab), moussaka and spanakopita (spinach pie).

Popular with tourists, the Plaka Quarter has stalls selling clothes, pottery and marble, while the Kolonaki area has chic boutiques and designer shops

Monastiraki Flea Market

Join the crowds in the old town of Athens where there's always something happening.

Stroll around the Plaka

This district below the Acropolis is a romantic maze of picturesque narrow streets, Byzantine churches and beautiful, flower-decked houses.

The Acropolis

One of the world's greatest ancient sites is topped by the Parthenon, the icon of Athens and Western civilisation.

National Archaeological Museum

An amazing collection of Greek antiquities.

Syntagma Square

A vast open area at the heart of Athens, great for people-watching and promenading.

Olympic Stadiums

One was built for the 1896 games right in the centre, the other for 2004.